In Between

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Jasper has been burdened his whole life with uncontrollable powers. Doors slam when he's angry and the ground shakes when he's nervous and the only person who has ever accepted him is his best friend Nova. But after Jasper falls down the canyon in the middle of town and seemingly disappears into thin air, Nova is forced to turn to the one person Jasper hates the most in the whole world, his brother Cassius. Will they ever find Jasper or will they be stuck in the in between forever?

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2. TWO

- NOVA -

     "Where the hell is he?" Nova muttered under her breath. Jasper was supposed to get off work at 4:30 and that was 2 hours earlier. Now it was 6:30 and the party was well underway. People were crowded all over her small house. Talking and laughing and dancing, yet the one person she truly cared about was missing. 

     Nova busied herself. She cleared plates and made small talk with "friends" from school, who only show up when there was free food involved, and long lost relatives her parents invited, but she stopped dead in her tracks when Jasper walked through the front door. He looked like the walking dead. 

     "Oh no. Jasper." she rushed toward him and touched a hand to his cheek. He flinched away. He had blood dripping from a cut under his left eye, and his lip was busted really bad. The sleeves of his jacket were ripped and muddy but he clutched a perfectly unharmed present in his hands wrapped in an old newspaper with a big yellow bow on top. 

     "C'mon lets get out of here." Nova led him out the door. Jasper didn't say anything as they walked and Nova didn't ask him to. They'd been through this countless times before ever since kindergarten when kids began to realize that Jasper was different. 

     Everyone knows that kids can be mean. At age five most kids are learning to make friends, learning to share toys and trying to communicate their emotions in healthy ways. Jasper has never been like most kids and while struggling through those daily tasks, he was also burdened with uncontrollable powers. No doctor, no teacher, nobody anywhere could explain why things moved around him when he didn't even touch them. There was no medicine and no therapy that could stop the doors from slamming when he was angry or the floors from shaking when he was nervous. 

     Nova had always exuded confidence, even at five years old. She saw a boy in trouble, curled in a ball on the play ground with three other boys surrounding him. Nova walked straight up to the tallest boy, Noah Greene, and punched him in the nose. He ran away crying with a bloody nose and Nova got sent to the principal's office, but she and Jasper had been best friends ever since. 

     Now twelve years later they sat side by side, legs dangling over the canyon. Neither of them spoke. Nova tilted her head to look at him, the sun was starting to set and it was starting to get colder. Nova was wearing only a red dress with thin spaghetti straps and shivered against the wind. She leaned over to rest her head on his shoulder but he quickly pulled away and stood up to walk the other direction. 

     "I'm sorry. I just, I need to go home. I'll call you tomorrow." Jasper didn't even look at her when he said it. He put the gift on the ground and began walking in the direction of his house. Nova ran to catch up with him and tugged on his arm.

     "Uh uh, you are not leaving like this," Jasper swung around so fast Nova fell to the ground. She looked up at him in awe, the same we he looked at her. "What the hell Jasper?"

     "Nova, I- I am so sorry, I'm just so pissed and-"

     "So you take it out on me?" 

     "I didn't mean for that to happen. Damnit!" He paused and took a deep breath. He ran his hand through his shaggy blonde hair, something Nova sees him do when he's upset and stressed out. He looks at Nova from under his eyelashes and lowers his voice, "I'm just so tired. Tired of always screwing up. Tired of always trying to hide who I am and what I can do. Tired of being yelled at and spit at and beat up. I'm just so tired Nova." Jasper fell to his knees. Nova pulled him into her arms. 

     "Shh shh, " She cooed, "I know. I'm right here. I'm always right here."

 

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